The real cost of staying connected

Ashden

Oct 15, 2021

Our access to the digital world is expanding; the number of internet users worldwide is 3.5 billion, which is about half the world’s population; but at what cost?

On 4th October for 8 hours we were all disconnected from the social media world as Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp crashed during a downtime for unknown reasons. This downtime tracked 10.6 million reports around the world - the largest number ever recorded. Clearly, everything can change in an internet minute.


The role that social media, messaging services, and the internet have on our lives has exponentially increased over the years. Our access to the digital world is expanding; the number of internet users worldwide is 3.5 billion, which is about half the world’s population.


Facebook with its handles alone has seen a 40% increase since the pandemic. It also claimed that time across all apps has grown as much as 70%. But do we actually comprehend the cost? What exactly are we paying for it? Mobile phones use data and energy even when you’re not looking – but why doesn't your phone die?


The answer is that most of the energy used is from the technology that’s busy working to feed data to you. - The 3-4 minutes of Facebook that you check while waiting for a taxi is enough energy to keep an LED bulb lit for an hour. - If you download a movie about 700MB through mobile data is enough energy to have powered that LED bulb for 200 hours. - Watching High-Quality videos uses over 1600W of electricity, equivalent to the consumption of 15 big-screen TV’s - The energy and data consumption by a news feed scroll is 10 times more than looking at a posted photo. With the Internet being used at this current rate, we will have used a fifth of all the world’s electricity by 2025.


While the energy use of the internet is minimal compared to transportation or heating buildings, it is growing and needs to be kept in check. As with many energy efficiency topics, this journey starts with you – the end user.


Changing the way we use our smart devices will contribute to this. While there is a lot of energy usage knowingly or unknowingly, with FORCE you can cover upto 10 % of your energy consumption from your main panel.